Monday, July 18, 2005

It has been some time since my last post. I have a difficult time posting to my blog in the midst of uncertainty and things have been wild lately.

It all started back in June. Kurt and I had a fabulous time celebrating our 10th anniversary. We splurged on a sunset sail for the whole family!

The kids were very excited. None of us had been sailing for years.

I'm still trying to figure out how Kurt got hold of the camera. I am generally very careful about letting it out of my hands in order to prevent myself from being in the pictures, yet there I am in the green and white outfit.

These pictures were taken on our anniversary back on June 24, when I was still in my second trimester. Now, in my 7th month, I am so big walking is a challenge.

Gabrielle wanted just the right dress for the occasion. This is a dress I made and smocked for her a couple of years ago. She won't be able to wear it much longer.

Even Kurt had a chance to really relax and enjoy himself.

The kids didn't particularly care for the life vests, but they sure like the sea.

One of the highlights for Gregory was when Kurt turned the tiller over.

Once someone called him "Captain Gregory" he started calling out orders and getting very cocky. Boys are really something else!

After a couple of hours, we watched the sun set over the sea. It was fabulous.

We spent the entire weekend acting like we were on vacation and just spending time together as a family. It was a wonderful anniversary, probably the best we've ever had.

On Monday, Kurt returned to work and everything changed. We found out due to concerns with the tax law, not only would we have to pay rent for the house in which we are presently staying, but we would have to pay back rent starting from the first of the year. While this doesn't sound terrible at first, remember, we are still making a mortgage payment every month for the property destroyed last Fall by Hurricane Ivan. There was no way we could afford to pay rent and a mortgage payment.

Then, another jolt hit. We would have to move out by the end of the year. Normally, this would not be a big deal, but we have a baby coming October 7th. I am huge pregnant and moving seemed like a bad idea. But after the baby I would be healing from a c-section and then the holidays would be upon us. Furthermore, there is a drastic housing shortage because Ivan destroyed so many homes. Even if we did find a place to rent, the rent would in all likelihood be more than 100% of Kurt's take home pay. This would be a problem.

As we were reeling from the news, we did our best to celebrate Gabrielle's birthday.

We bought Gabrielle a small swingset and a pool for her birthday a couple of months ago. We wanted to give the kids time to enjoy it before the hottest part of summer. Thus, Gabrielle had to rely on others for her presents for the most part. Gregory came through with a new set of dolls.

My mother sent Gabrielle a new Care Bears DVD, which Gabrielle loved. She lost her other Care Bears movies to Hurricane Ivan last Fall. My mom also sent a cute little bear.

Kurt's parents sent Gabrielle a couple of really nice new outfits, which Gabrielle loves. She is definitely into clothes. Kurt and I got her a book of Disney stories and some dress up clothes.

After opening presents, Gregory and Gabrielle played in their little pool and had a wonderful day.

On the home front, Kurt and I began to look at our options. We started to pray for direction. We were desperate for guidance. We knew we couldn't afford to pay rent and our mortgage for another year while we rebuilt in Gulf Breeze. But then, we also knew that even if we could find a house we could afford, we couldn't afford the property taxes because houses were getting more and more expensive every day. We started thinking about perhaps looking for a house just over the Alabama line because homes and taxes are much lower there. But we really wanted to rebuild in Gulf Breeze.

The Lord answered our prayers for direction. After a long night laboring in prayer asking the Lord to show us what to do, I was awakened by a telephone call from our builder. He found a house in Georgia and had a buyer for his Florida home. He was leaving town. And though he was willing to return to build our Gulf Breeze home, at that moment, I knew the door had shut on our dreams of rebuilding in Gulf Breeze. It was the answer to my night long prayer vigil. That was a hard moment. But, we also know that only Jesus knows the beginning from the end and we want Him to guide our lives. We put Gulf Breeze behind us and started house hunting. We quickly confirmed we could no longer afford to live in the Pensacola area. Then we discovered Brewton, Alabama.

As we hunted for homes in Brewton Alabama, the Lord impressed us we were to move BEFORE the baby comes. Yikes! Hurricane Dennis confirmed this. During this hurricane a week ago, the front porch of the house where we are staying flipped up onto the roof, peeling back a portion of the roof with it.

This created a couple of waterfalls in the living area of the house. The mission immediately boarded up the opening on the house.

They also bent the eves back into place.

Yet, whenever it rains, we still have an indoor waterfall. They placed visqueen over the opening and yet the waterfall remains. Soon mold will be growing and the house will be uninhabitable. We need to move out as quickly as possible so adequate repairs can be made. Every time it rains, water pours into the house.

On the bright side, we lost very little of our what little personal property we own.

Other than this table, we haven't found any more permanent damage. Fortunately we were around during Dennis to move furniture and personal property out of the cascading water.

After a couple of weeks hunting and exploring, we found a house in Brewton, AL yesterday the whole family loves.

It is smaller than we wanted and will present challenges as a result, but the features, price and fact that nothing needs to be fixed before we move in sold us on it.

The house sits on 5 acres. It has an incredible front porch and a small, above ground pool. However, though the house has a country feel from the outside, upon walking in the door, it reminds me more of a ski chalet.

Here is the front entryway and the upstairs. The house has only three bedrooms, which is not enough for our growing family, but Kurt and I wondered if perhaps there was a way to extend the second floor, eliminating the vaulted ceiling in order to add an additional bedroom and more storage.

Standing at the front door, you look inside the living room to the fireplace. Outside is a deck and the decked in swimming pool.

To the side of the living room is a pass through window into the kitchen.

The kitchen is a bit small, but I think we can make it work. You can see a breakfast nook in the background, which we will need to use for our homeschool.

The formal dining room will be our main eating area, once we have a dining room table again.

The master bedroom is a bit smaller than we've had in the past.

But I just love the jacuzzi tub!

To the side of the master bedroom is a small office space.

Up the stairs are two bedrooms and a bathroom.

They are both dormer rooms and are basically the same.

There is a large workshop with electricity on the property as well as a wooden storage shed, which I did not see. Kurt really fell in love with the house at first sight and I believe it was the best house we have seen so far. I know with a little bit of expansion at some point, this could be the perfect house for us.

We are now praying the financing will work out. If everything goes well, we are scheduled to close August 17. We would like to be out of the waterfall house by the end of August, giving us one month until the baby is born. Of course we have no furniture or even beds in which to sleep so we have some challenges ahead. Please pray for us.

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